G. G. Wagner: Lob und Ehre und Weisheit und Dank…

BWV Anh, III 162…
Anthem for double choir (SATB/SATB) formerly attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, edited by Klaus Winkler.
Carus (35,013), €15,50.

This really has no relationship with Bach at all. Early in the 19th century it was attributed to Bach, and edited by Johann Gottfried Schicht (1753-1823) for Breitkopf & Härtel in 1819. The first edition of the BWV publications seems to have been accepted it as not being by Bach but by Georg Gottfried Wagner (1698-1756). He was a member of the St Thomas choir from 1712, but left in 1726 to become Kantor in Plauen (Saxony), staying there until his death in 1756. Considering his minimum quantity of composition, this is impressive. The earliest source dates from 1755, copied by Christian Friedrich Penzel – he was a student and stayed till he became Kantor at Merseburg in 1765; he also produced a set of parts. The absence of a continuo part possibly suggests use at a burial – if so, it must honour a very positive character!

The edition was translated into English for Novello: the copy used is labelled “Anthem for double chorus by G. G. Wagner (formerly by J. S. Bach) adapted to English words by Alfred Angel. Revised for the use of the ‘Bach Choir’, 1876. London: Novello and Company, Ltd. No. 661 in Novello’s Octavo Choruses.” It is very difficult to trust Novello dates – library catalogues tend to add a relevant year without relating them to the original numbers: the suggestion of 1876 may merely have been adjusted to Angel’s year of death. A Catalogue of the valuable musical library of the late Alfred Angel: And rare autograph letters by Alfred Angel (1876) was likely to have a careful respect for dates. What is of primary interest, however, is the skill by which he underlaid the English text which was printed under the German.

Clifford Bartlett